A tag team of researchers, bringing together 3 major universities, was successful in devising a new non-invasive method to induce intracellular permutation. The researchers devised acoustic calipers to manipulate cells and to create patterns in a 3-D or 2-D environment.
The project gathered scientists from MIT, the Carnegie Mellon University and from the Pennsylvania State University. Their goal was to devise the perfect method in order to move cellular blocks without touching.
After years of harrowing research, the team was successful in creating a technique to move cells using sound waves. According to the specs of the project, the team can induce cellular movement using sound waves and a microfluidic chamber, which is used to create new surfaces using the trapped cells.
How does the application work? Tony Jun Huang, one of the scientists working on the project explained that the team is capable of generating nodes or nets using the acoustic waves. This node can attract and trap all sorts of cells and microparticles.
After trapping the particles or cells using the acoustic waves, the researchers can move them around in the microfluidic chamber in order to create 3-D or 2-D shape.
These nodes are also called pressure nodes and, as stated are used to trap cells of other types of microparticles. In order to create a pressure node, the scientists must emit sound waves from 2 or more positions. When the two waves meet they are capable of generating enough pressure in order to trap cells or particles.
This is where the acoustic calipers come into action. Using this technique, the researchers are able to move the cells around the confines of the microfluidic chamber in order to create two-dimensional shapes.
To create more complex three-dimensional shape, the researcher must be able to modulate the amplitude of the two sound waves. By modifying the intensity and the amplitude of the acoustic waves, the team can create different applications.
The researchers devised acoustic calipers to manipulate cells. And it seems that this achievement was possible by using a new technology called acoustic streaming, described as being a fluid-like movement created by a standing audio wave.
By using these techniques to manipulate a sound wave, the researchers can basically position the cells anywhere within the confines of the microfluidic chamber.
According to Subra Suresh, co-author of the study, this new technique can now be used the perform non-invasive microsurgery procedures. The technique can also be employed in medicine in order to stop a cancerous tumor from forming metastasis.